Morning Prayer Thursday, 24 December 2020

Love Brought Jesus Down From Heaven

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel; whose origins are from of old, from ancient times—and he will be our peace.” (Micah 5: 2, 5 NIV)

Micah provides one of the clearest Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s coming, seven hundred years before his birth. Jesus’ birth was miraculous because he was born of Mary, a virgin who was betrothed to Joseph. Before they were married, an angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and informed her that she would have a child through the Holy Spirit. “Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived of her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:19-21 NIV) Tozer has remarked that the coming of Jesus was truth more profound than any philosophy.

In his book entitled ‘Because of Bethlehem’, Max Lucado in commenting on ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ (John 1:14 NKJV) said that “God’s Word took on human form and entered history in the person of Jesus not like a human, but as a human. He endured puberty, pimples, hot weather, and cranky neighbours. God became human down to his very toes—Why did God go so far?—because He understands how you feel and has faced what you face. Look at the tear-streaked face of Jesus at Lazarus’s tomb. (My comment-the reader can think of several other instances where Jesus as ‘Son of Man’ showed human emotions)  ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’ (John 14:9) Would you like to see God? Take a look at Jesus.”  The Creator of all confined himself to a human body to save us; born as a helpless, vulnerable baby to Mary, a young peasant girl; in Bethlehem, in a stable, because there was no room for them elsewhere. Angels announced Jesus’ birth to humble shepherds tending their sheep; and they went hurriedly to find Jesus. They spread the good news, glorified and praised God for all that they had seen.  The word ‘Incarnation’ refers to the fact that in Jesus the eternal Word of God appeared in human form.  In the ‘Message Study Bible’ Eugene Peterson remarked, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood—Do you want to come into the presence of God and worship him? Here he’s making himself at home among you: Jesus pitching his tent—and moving into the neighbourhood. Your neighbourhood.”(John 1:14)

The story is told of a farmer who saw sparrows hitting themselves against his barn window in the dark, in order to get inside. He went out, opened the door, turned on the lights, sprinkled crackers on the ground, turned over the hay and tried everything possible to encourage them to fly into the barn. The birds would not go in because they were afraid of him. Finally, the farmer gave up, he said to himself, if only I could become a bird, then I could show them the way into safety. THIS THEN IS THE JOY, THE TRUE ESSENCE OF CHRISTMAS; JESUS CHRIST BECAME ONE OF US, BECAME OUR SAVIOUR IN ORDER TO SAVE US FROM OUR SINS. EMMANUEL-GOD WITH US!!

Let us pray:

“Sweet child of Bethlehem, grant that we may share with all our hearts in this profound mystery of Christmas. Pour into the hearts of men the peace which they sometimes seek so desperately, and which you alone can give them. Help them to know one another better and to live as brothers, children of the same Father. Awaken in their hearts love and gratitude for your infinite goodness; join them together in your love; and give us all your heavenly peace.”(Pope John XX111,1881-1963)

‘God of love, this Christmas is unlike any other that we have experienced in recent times. Despite the disastrous year which we have had, open our hearts and minds to the good and saving news of Jesus Christ. May we reach out in love and compassion to those who lives are insecure, those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, financial losses, and those who are desperate and feel there is no hope. Let us remember what Jesus said, he did not come to be served but to serve. Let us hold before us the reason for the Christmas season and celebrate his birth and wonderful coming to live as he lived, among us. God is working in and through our lives. Let us keep trusting and thanking him for his blessings “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
(Isaiah 12:2 NIV)

“May the joy of the angels,
The eagerness of the shepherds,
The perseverance of the wise men,
The obedience of Joseph and Mary,
And the peace of the Christ child
Be yours this Christmas.”
(The Promise of His Glory)

“Because of Bethlehem, I have a Saviour in heaven. Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross.” (‘Because of Bethlehem’ by Max Lucado)

Glynne Gordon- Carter